Hello there & hello December!
It's all happening so fast, so I like to do crafts that bring me back into the moment.
As you may know I have gobs of pinecones floating around my garden.
I love them and their versatility, so I always try to integrate them in some way.
You may recall the pine cone zinnia tutorial here?
The other day I was collecting some and thought...
Wouldn't it be nice to put candles in them and use them on my holiday table?
And so, I set out to do just that.
In doing so, some even doubled as little Christmas trees.
So, here's what I did if you fancy a go.
I'm told that I have loblolly pinecones so, I just used pliers to bend the top center back and forth firmly until it broke off.
I had to pull out a few little bits piece by piece but it was pretty easy.
(You can wash and dry your fresh gathered pine cones for bugs prior to crafting with them. I'll address that in the "ps" section of this post)
A new trick I discovered is how beyond easy it is to dip paint pine cones.
Who knew? I never thought they'd take the paint so well.
I just did it as a trial and error and it worked wonderfully.
(some pine cones I just left as regular pine cones for décor)
Of course, you can skip the painting part altogether and go for a more natural look, maybe just glittering or gold leafing the edges.
For a painted look here's what I did.
I first dipped them in white acrylic paint mixed with water to make white ones.
Then later I decided to make a teal mix by adding yellow and blue to the white.
The white mixture (mixed in a small bowl), was a half cup of standard white acrylic craft paint mixed with one cup of water.
I stirred that up and dipped the pinecones in with my fingers, making sure to coat them well.
Later, to the white, I added a drizzle of blue and a bigger drizzle of yellow to make teal.
I did not measure them but you can just add slowly until you achieve your desired color.
These are the craft paints I used.
You can do this with any color of your choice, the sky is the limit.
I set them on a cookie sheet covered in paper towels to dry (about an hour or two).
After they were almost dry I removed them from the paint soggy paper towels and put them on cardboard to finish drying completely.
Once dry I simply painted on some white craft glue and sprinkled them in glitter or fake snow.
I alternated between the glitter and the sparkly fake snow.
Then I set them aside to dry.
(about an hour, sooner if you have sun or air flowing)
Once they were totally dry I had the task of figuring out how to get the candles to sit in the pine cones.
I could have made it easy by using tea lights, but I had my heart set on taper candles.
The space I made by breaking off the centers was the perfect size, but now what?
Hot glue doesn't work because wax will not stick to hot glue, haha!
And who has time for epoxy or anything like that?
Soooo, I took my pack of regular sewing needles...
And with the pointy side down, I very slowly and firmly pushed the needle half way into the center of the pine cone.
It was quite easy to do.
(Tin foil barrier tip: at this point you can cut out a little piece of foil to place between the pine cone and the candle for an extra barrier. Just place it over the needle & push it down onto the cone before adding the candle)
Then I also, very slowly and firmly, pushed my candle on to the needle.
By the by, these are the candles I use in my house for everything.
You can get them at almost any grocery store in the ethnic food section.
(You could probably use those battery operated candles too and just hot glue them into place)
After I secured the candles into the pinecones I cut out a little round cardboard piece.
Then I glued the pine cone bottoms to the cardboard for stability.
You want to make sure there is no chance your pinecone could topple over.
(avoid any fire hazard)
I just love using natural elements in décor.
Especially during the holidays.
These little projects are so grounding during the mad hustle and bustle.
I used two kinds of berries, some boxwood and rosemary from my garden for décor.
Then dotted the plates and table with a few baubles in my favorite colors.
It really feels so festive now.
Oh and, if your candles slant a little bit, just stuff a little something underneath the candle to straighten it up.
I used a berry or two to straighten mine :-)
You can use a little bunched up piece of tin foil under the candles to straighten them also.
So easy and such a pretty finale I think.
How bout you?
It officially feels like Christmas time.
If you don't want to put your pine cones on plates I was thinking that hot gluing them to a long and narrow piece of wood (that would go down the center of the table) would be a really pretty alternative.
In fact, I may make one of those as a gift.
Putting them in tea cups with a dab of hot glue to hold them straight would be lovely too.
Just remember, these are pine cones so they can burn.
Always be in charge of your candles and never leave them unattended.
If you burn down your house, your tablecloth, your curtains or your favorite vintage skirt, remember, I am not responsible.
Please use candles responsibly and wisely.
Now someone pour the eggnog and start singing carols!
Woo hooo, December is here!
Time for lots of fun!
See you soon!
A question I often receive is about baking the pinecones first to remove bugs.
Now, being the wild woman I am, I didn't even worry about this.
Mainly because I never saw a bug emerging ever.
However, I live in the desert where the temps reach 100+ all summer.
So I'm quite certain my cones are baked/dried naturally.
But, my mom told me you can wash them in white vinegar and water.
Big bowl water and about 2 cups of vinegar, just soak and slosh around for an hour.
They might swell up and look funny when soaked but will go back to normal once they dry.
Then set them on paper towels to air dry for up to a week.
If you want to really make sure you have no bugs, then after you wash them just put them in the oven on a foil lined cookie sheet at 200' - 250'F for an hour, checking often to make sure they don't burn.
Then just let them sit around on paper towels for 2-4 days.
Like I said, I've never done any of that, because I live in a dry dry desert climate.
So, don't hold me to any of it pretty please :-)
And please don't burn anything.
If you are still unsure just google "prepping pinecones for crafts," and you'll find all sorts of info.